World Cancer Day - 04 February 2011
New EU-funded cancer research projects
On the occasion of World Cancer Day, this news alert outlines some examples among the 19 new cancer research projects which will be financed by the European Union for a total amount of almost €95 million. With this new investment, the European effort since 2003 in cancer research amounts to close to € 1 billion, funding 183 projects. This support has created the necessary collaboration between cancer centres, researchers and patient advocacy groups in different countries to improve how rare cancers are tackled, make the best treatments available to everyone and reach more patients.
A survey among cancer experts identified the need to reinforce networking and alignment of existing national and EU initiatives, to develop further support infrastructures for research purposes and to encourage collaboration between the major European centres for research and treatment of cancer.
European collaborative efforts in EU cancer projects have taken a problem-solving approach, focussing on overarching issues of prevention, pathogenesis, early detection, diagnosis and treatment of cancers, as well as care of cancer patients. Big efforts are being made on breast and rare cancers, melanoma, leukaemia and cancer imaging. Cancer in women and children receives special attention, and, for the first time in Europe, a project will focus on long-term side effects in childhood cancer survivors.
RATHER - Rational Therapy for Breast Cancer: Individualized Treatment for Difficult-to-Treat Breast Cancer Subtypes.
There are currently no effective targeted therapies for one quarter of all breast cancer patients. The RATHER project is expected to deliver proof-of-concept for novel therapeutic interventions, together with matched personalised diagnostic approaches for patients for whom there are no targeted therapies available. The two difficult-to-treat subtypes to be investigated are "triple negative" breast tumours (15 % of all breast cancers) and invasive lobular carcinomas of the breast (10% of breast tumours).
- Duration: 4 years
- EU contribution: € 6 million
- Coordinator: Prof. William Gallagher, UCD Conway Institute, University College Dublin, IE
- Partners from: IE, NL, FR, SE, ES, UK
PanCareSurFup - PanCare Childhood and Adolescent Cancer Survivor Care and Follow-up Studies
This project aims to provide every European childhood cancer survivor with better access to care and better long-term health. Although treatments for childhood and adolescent cancers have improved greatly thanks to medical research, some late complications of treatment can still lead to chronic ill-health or disability, and thereby constitute a significant burden on individuals and families and on health services and society. The researchers will collect the information on late effects of cancer therapy and look for the first time at long-term survival, in order to improve the survivors’ health and quality of life and to maximise efficient use of health services. Risk prediction and guidelines for care and education based on PanCareSurFup's research will be tailored for each country.
- Duration: 5 years
- EU contribution: € 6 million
- Coordinator: Dr. Lars Hjorth, Lund University, SE
- Partners from: SE, UK, IT, DE, IE, AT, NL, HU, CH, FR, BE
For more information, see PanCancerSurFup press release
HARP - Evaluation and impact of screening and treatment approaches for the prevention of cervical neoplasia in HIV-positive women in Burkina Faso and South Africa: HPV in Africa Research Partnership.
Every year, over a quarter of a million women die of cervical cancer, a disease that has become almost entirely preventable through screening and vaccination against the human papillomavirus (HPV) types 16 and 18. Most cancer cases and mortality are found in developing countries, where women seldom have access to any form of cancer prevention and detection. Women living with HIV are at a particularly high risk of being infected and to experience fast progression of the disease. The HARP Consortium is designed to provide a better evidence base to guide future cervical cancer screening and treatment programmes for HIV-positive women in Africa. It will evaluate the cost-effectiveness of various screening strategies and model their long-term impact on cancer reduction and lives saved.
- Duration: 42 months
- EU contribution: € 3 million
- Coordinator: Dr. Philippe Mayaud, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, UK
- Partners from: UK, FR, Burkina Faso, South Africa
For more information, see HARP press release
EUROCANPLATFORM - A European Platform for Translational Cancer Research
EurocanPlatform is a network of Europe’s 28 most research-intensive institutions as well as cancer patients' organisations, of which the majority are clinical (patient focused), and others are engaged in basic research. This initiative focuses on the validation of biomarkers and the support of innovative clinical trials and bio-banking, The project aims to find more effective ways to ensure the prevention, early discovery and treatment of different forms of cancer. Professor Ulrik Ringborg from the Karolinska Institutet medical university, who is coordinating the project, comments, “In a way, you could say that this initiative represents a paradigm shift in cancer research. The project will last five years, establishing a collaborative structure within the EU for cancer research.”
- Duration: 5 years
- EU contribution: € 12 million
- Coordinator: Dr. Ulrik Ringborg, Karolinska Institutet, SE
- Partners from: SE, FR, DK, NO, ES, IT, DE, UK, NL, BE, HU
World Cancer Day is marked on February 4 to raise awareness of cancer and to encourage its prevention, detection, and treatment. It is led by the International Union Against Cancer, a global consortium of more than 400 cancer-fighting organizations in over 120 countries. World Cancer Day targets the public through global communications marketing, and encourages policy makers and UICC member organizations to make cancer a political priority.
Also in the web…
TV documentary "Little heroes - great opportunities. Childhood cancer research in Europe"
This moving film unveils the battle and successes of highly motivated paediatric oncologists, researchers, private foundations, parents' initiatives, children and adolescents with cancer and childhood cancer survivors in many different settings throughout Europe, such as the Viennese Children's Cancer Research Institute, the St. Anna Children's Hospital and the "Forest Pirates' Camp" in Heidelberg, Germany. Produced by the EU project DIRECT.